Jump Start -- 11/20/97

...shitty, smallish conditions pervaded the Country...

My buddy Jimmy just scored a brand-spanking new tank and was dying to show it to me. After some finagling, I managed to steal away with him for an afternoon tanker session on Thursday (11/20/97).

Of course, on that day, the winds turned north and the surf lulled right between swells. Shitty, smallish conditions pervaded the Country. But we went out at Laniakeas anyway--at least there was no one else out.

Jimmy's board was pretty cherry: a 9'0" Jay Richardson under the resurrected Surfboards Makaha logo. It looked like more of a Town noseriding board, with subtle rocker, a widish nose, but a pinny tail. Still, it looked sleek and oh so desirable.

Once in the choppy water, I was kooking out big time. Couldn't catch waves, then fell on the ones I did stroke into. I guess anyone can surf clean waves, but a good rider can make even junk conditions look rippable. We know which category I belong to.

Jimmy was doing alright, catching both lefts and rights. We swapped boards mid-session, and he found my Aipa tank to be much more maneuverable and light. I had to agree.

Soon after we got out, quite a few people magically appeared in the lineup. It always seems like people need someone to break the ice for them.

As the sun slowly started to fade, my mind kept flashing back to the image of Rick Gruzinski's surfboard which was chomped at that very same spot a few years back by a tiger shark.

As if right on cue, a large form split the surface of the water no more than four feet away from me. It was a huge green sea turtle, with a shell three feet across. I was more than a bit rattled, and paddled towards shore mumbling "shit, shit, shit" incoherently to myself.

Just then, a small section formed, and let me glide off with it. It proved the turning point for my session. After that, I was able to catch several good sized waves and long rides, even making some fun, overhead elevator drops on the windswept peaks.

We paddled to shore just before darkness fell, with the winds still kicking firmly onshore. Drove home in the darkness in my newly salt-encrusted car.

What started for me as a very bad day out turned into a decent sesh with a good workout. I just needed that turtle to jump start my heart.

Aloha from Paradise,